Off-Duty FDNY EMT Arrested

An off-duty EMT has been charged with choking his girlfriend in their Brownsville home Sunday.

The couple was arguing just before noon when FDNY employee Juan Lebron allegedly went ballistic, breaking their couch, choking his 30-year-old girlfriend and punching her before throwing her on the bed.

When police arrived, the victim had no visible injuries and refused medical attention, authorities said. Lebron was charged with criminal obstruction of breathing. (more…)

WANTED: Man Whom Exposed Himself on Sheepshead Bay B44

Police need your help identifying a man who exposed himself aboard a bus in Sheepshead Bay.

The victim was seated on a B44 bus at Nostrand Avenue and Avenue X at around 7:30 a.m. July 8 when the man unzipped his pants and exposed himself.

The suspect is described as a male Hispanic wearing blue jeans, black tee shirt and a black hat with.


Alternate Side Rules Suspended Monday-Wednesday, July 28-30

Alternate side parking (street cleaning) regulations will be suspended Monday through Wednesday, July 28-30 for Idul-Fitr. All other regulations, including parking meters, remain in effect.

Brooklyn Man Dressed As Spider Man Slugged At Officer In Times Square

20140727-093635-34595205.jpgA man dressed as Spider-Man was arrested on charges he slugged a police officer who told him to stop harassing tourists in Times Square.

Junior Bishop, 25, of Brooklyn, was charged with assaulting an officer, resisting arrest and criminal mischief.

The New York Police Department said the officer assaulted Saturday – an 18-month veteran and one of about 50 officers patrolling the bustling tourist area – stepped in after Bishop demanded at least $5 from a woman he posed for a picture with, instead of the $1 tip she offered.

Police said a costumed Bishop “put out his hand and told the woman 5s, 10s or 20s only.” Police said the officer told him he could only accept tips – not require payment.

Bishop yelled and cursed at the officer, police said, and told him: “Mind your own (expletive) business.”

Police said the officer asked for identification and, when Bishop failed to produce any, moved to arrest him.
Bishop broke free and punched the officer in the face, police said, causing a cut and eye swelling.

The officer, whose name was not released, was treated and released at New York University’s Langone Medical Center.


NYPD Officer Gets Desk Duty for Alleged Stomp

A New York City police officer has been put on desk duty for allegedly stomping a drug suspect during an arrest captured on amateur video.

Police said Saturday that Officer Joel Edouard was ordered to surrender his badge and gun while the police department reviews the incident.

An onlooker videotaped officers struggling with the suspect on Wednesday in Brooklyn. After the man was subdued and handcuffed, one of the officers appeared to stomp him on the head.

It was the second time this month that an officer was placed on modified assignment based on video evidence. A video shot July 17 showed an officer putting Eric Garner in an apparent chokehold before Garner died.

A police union official said Saturday that videos “never present all the facts in a situation.”


Flatbush Shooting Suspects Getaway Car Pulled Over Hour Later For Broken Taillight

Two suspects in a Flatbush shooting were busted an hour and a half after the attack when their getaway car was pulled over for a broken taillight, law-enforcement authorities said.

Yasser Julio, 34, allegedly blasted a rival in the leg on Albemarle Road near Ocean Avenue at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, then jumped into a waiting 2009 Mercedes-Benz, officials said.

Cops in an unmarked car flagged down the white vehicle for the busted light just before 9:15 p.m. near Brooklyn Avenue and Winthrop Street, and noticed a knife in the glove compartment when driver Bianca Blackford, 26, reached for her ID, police said.

Cops took Julio from the passenger seat and found a loaded .38-caliber revolver with one spent shell in his front pocket, officials said.

A plastic bag of what is believed to be crack was also found in the Mercedes, cops added.

Julio and Blackford were hit with a slew of charges, including attempted murder and felony assault, said ­authorities.

The 23-year-old shooting victim was in stable condition at Kings County Hospital, authorities said.

Weekend Bridge and Street Closures – July 26-27

The Brooklyn Bridge will be fully closed Manhattan-bound on Saturday from 12:01 am to 7 am.

The 65th Street Central Park transverse will be closed on Sunday from 12:01 am to 6 am for an annual scheduled under-deck bridge inspection. The other transverses may be used as alternates.

Mulberry Street between Canal Street and Broome Street and Hester Street between Mott Street and Baxter Street will be closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5:30 pm to 9 pm for the Little Italy Pedestrian Mall.

The following streets will be closed on Saturday:
* 6th Avenue between 42nd Street and 56th Street in Manhattan will be closed from 11 am to 6 pm for the Avenue of the Americas Festival.
* Tompkins Avenue between Hancock Street and Putnam Avenue in Brooklyn will be closed from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm for the DOT Weekend Walks Tama Summerfest.
* 7th Avenue between 10th Street and 13th Street in Brooklyn will be closed from noon to 5 pm for the DOT Weekend Walks 7th Avenue Summer.
* 46th Street between Queens Boulevard and Greenpoint Avenue in Queens will be closed from 1 pm to 7 pm for the DOT Weekend Walks Sunnyside Summer Strolls.
* West Burnside Avenue between Davidson Avenue and Jerome Avenue in the Bronx will be closed from noon to 5:30 pm for the DOT Weekend Walks Bronx Summer Walks on Burnside Avenue.
* Van Duzer Street between Beach Street and Wright Street on Staten Island will be closed from 1 pm to 6 pm for the DOT Weekend Walks Van Duzer Days.

The following streets will be closed on Sunday:
* Madison Avenue between 42nd Street and 57th Street in Manhattan will be closed from 11 am to 6 pm for the Workmen’s Circle & St. Patrick’s Cathedral Fair.
* Riverside Drive between 120th Street and Tiemann Place; Claremont Avenue between 122nd Street and Tiemann Place; and 122nd Street between Riverside Drive and Claremont Avenue in Manhattan will be closed from noon to 9 pm for A Great Day in Harlem.
* Northern Boulevard between 69th Street and 86th Street in Queens will be closed from noon to 2 pm for Desfile Colombiano de Nueva York.
* 204th Street between Bainbridge Avenue and Decatur Avenue in the Bronx will be closed from noon to 5 pm for the DOT Weekend Walks 204th Summer Festival.
* Grand Concourse between East 181st Street and East 167th Street and East 167th Street between Grand Concourse and Jerome Avenue in the Bronx will be closed from 2 pm to 5 pm for the Gran Parada Dominican del Bronx.

The times listed for closures for street fairs are for the actual times of the street fairs themselves. The streets may be closed longer to allow for set-up and breakdown. Street fair organizers are generally permitted to begin set-up at 8 am and breakdown must be completed by 7 pm.

Fare Beater To Serve 25 Years In Prison For Shooting Cop In Leg

Prosecutors today announced that a 29-year-old Brooklyn man has pleaded guilty to aggravated assault on a police officer for shooting a New York City Police Department officer in the leg after the cop and his partner, who were both in uniform, stopped the man for boarding a bus without paying his fare. The defendant is expected to be sentenced to 25 years in prison in September.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant showed utter contempt for police officers when he opened fire on them three times over a fare beating stop. He deserves the 25-year prison term that he will get in September.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as, Rashun Robinson, 29, of 692 East 48th Street, in East Flatbush. The defendant today pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault on a police officer before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Alan Marrus who indicated he would sentence the defendant to a determinate term of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced on September 3, 2014.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the shooting stemmed from an incident that occurred on February 26, 2014, at approximately 5 p.m., in the vicinity of Empire Boulevard and Utica Avenue, when Police Officer James Li and Police Officer Randy Chow observed the defendant entering the rear of a New York City Transit Authority B46 bus and ordered the defendant to get off of the bus. The defendant got off of the bus and ran across Empire Boulevard, turned and fired multiple shots at both officers, striking Officer Li in the leg and groin.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, both officers returned fire. The defendant was not hit. He was apprehended in a stairwell on Schenectady Avenue shortly after the shooting by officers assigned to the 71st precinct. The defendant had a .45 caliber handgun in his hand when he was caught. Three .45 caliber shell casings were recovered.

Officer Li, who graduated from the Police Academy two months prior to the shooting and was assigned to the 71st precinct, suffered significant nerve damage to his leg and walks with a cane. It is unknown at this time whether the nerve damage is permanent.

Greenfield Fights for More Parking at Avenue L Mega Development

Councilman David G. Greenfield spoke out against a request for a reduction in required parking spaces at a new office and retail building soon coming to Coney Island Avenue and Avenue L. The proposed mega development at 1504 Coney Island Avenue will bring over 160,000 square feet of new development to the intersection. The plans include a 49,332 square foot department store, 23,737 square feet of additional retail space, 3,413 of office space, 56,569 square feet of health care facilities 28,314. Zoning regulations for this site would require a minimum of 346 parking spaces due to the large size of the project. However, the developer has asked the Board of Standards and Appeals to provide only 272 parking spaces. That would mean 74 less parking spaces for the neighborhood.

This project is across the street from the popular Pomegranate Supermarket. Local residents know this intersection is already the most traffic-congested intersection in all of Midwood. Every parking space available is essential, and in an effort to prevent an exacerbation of current problems Councilman Greenfield is pushing back against the applicant’s request to provide less parking for the new facility which is sure to bring more traffic to Coney Island Ave.

“I frequently drive by Avenue L & Coney Island Avenue and am stuck among double and triple-parked cars. It’s really ridiculous that anyone would suggest that the lack of parking is not a problem in this neighborhood. That is why I am fighting to make sure the community gets the required amount of parking for this new mega development,” said Councilman David G. Greenfield.

On Tuesday a representative from Councilman Greenfield’s office testified in opposition to the requested parking reduction at the BSA and cited the frequent nuisances local residents already face, such as driveways blocked by parked cars, as examples of why any development in the area must provide sufficient parking for its patrons.
Community Board 12 District Manager Barry Spitzer also testified before the BSA in opposition to the project. The zoning committee of Community Board 12 and the full community board also voted down this plan.

“I have no doubt that a failure to provide the necessary parking spaces along this stretch of Coney Island Avenue will generate hardship for the residents of Midwood,” said Barry Spitzer, District Manager of Community Board 12.

The current proposed development at 1504 Coney Island Avenue can be built as of right, which means there is no community approval process for what sort of building or offices may go up on the site. The community does have a role in approving special requests made of the city by the developer for relief of zoning requirements, such as a reduction in parking requirements.  The Board of Standards and Appeals, which consists of a Chair and several Commissioners, is charged with reviewing these requests and the public has the opportunity to give testimony before the board. Councilman Greenfield will continue to advocate that the Board of Standards and Appeals to reject the developer’s request to reduce parking in this neighborhood.

Brooklyn Fundraiser Who Solicited Donations For Fraudulent Charities In The Name Of Israeli Causes Convicted

Yaakov Weingarten

Prosecutors today announced the felony tax fraud conviction of Yaakov Weingarten and a more than $520,000 civil judgment lodged against him and his wife for activities related to the Brooklyn-based charitable fundraising ring he operated, which solicited donations from thousands of donors for phony not-for-profit organizations. The judgment, signed by Kings County Supreme Court Justice Carolyn Demarest on Wednesday, resolves a civil lawsuit filed by Attorney General Schneiderman’s office last year against Weingarten and his wife, Rivka, who are alleged to have been the biggest beneficiaries of the scheme and are, under the judgment, required to pay $522,315. Approximately $360,000 of those funds will go to two Israeli charitable organizations that carry out genuine programs similar to the causes for which Weingarten’s fraudulent solicitations raised donations from the public.

The judgment also permanently bars Weingarten and his associates, Simon Weiss and David Yifat, from any fundraising activities or other charitable activities in the State of New York.

Weingarten pleaded guilty May 19 in Brooklyn Supreme Court before Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino to Criminal Tax Fraud in the Third Degree, a Class D felony. He paid $90,685 in restitution to the state Department of Taxation and Finance, and on June 23, he was sentenced to five years’ probation. As a condition of his felony probation, Weingarten is forbidden from engaging in any charitable fundraising activities for five years.

In June 2013, the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau filed a civil lawsuit and obtained a temporary restraining order closing Weingarten’s fundraising operation, which Weingarten, together with associates Weiss and Yifat, ran out of a Brooklyn storefront at 1493 Coney Island Avenue. According to the suit, Weingarten, Weiss and Yifat raised donations for 19 sham charities from Jewish donors throughout North America, ostensibly for Israeli charitable causes such as emergency medical services and programs for sick children, terror attack survivors, cancer victims, and the poor. Large amounts of the money raised — an estimated $2 million — was then withdrawn from charity bank accounts. Some of that money was used to pay workers operating Weingarten’s Brooklyn telemarketing boiler room. Other funds were used by Weingarten and his family to pay for personal expenses, such as mortgages, dentist bills, car loans, and home improvements. The complaint also detailed gross mismanagement of charitable assets by Weingarten, including extensive mixing of charitable and personal funds and of funds raised for one charitable cause with those raised for another, which is barred by law. More information on the lawsuit is available here.

Under the order, Weiss, 29, and Yifat, 68, are also permanently barred from charitable fundraising in New York.

As part of his guilty plea, Weingarten, 53, admitted that between approximately June 2007 and June 2012, he solicited charitable donations for multiple entities, many of which did not exist, and obtained donations from thousands of donors. He further admitted that from January 2009 through December 2011, he paid over $270,000 in personal expenses from bank accounts set up in the names of the purported charities, including mortgages on his two homes, various home improvements, and Cablevision and Con Edison bills. Weingarten admitted that with intent to evade New York State taxes, he failed to report this money as income on his 2009, 2010 and 2011 tax returns.

On Wednesday, Justice Carolyn Demarest signed the Attorney General’s civil judgment. It permanently shuts down Weingarten’s operation and requires Weingarten and his wife, also 53, to pay a total of $522,315. Of that, $360,000 will go to the United Jewish Appeal/Federation of New York, to be distributed equally to Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel, the preeminent pediatric hospital in Israel, and United Hatzalah of Israel, a leading Israeli volunteer emergency medical services organization. The remaining portion of the judgment payment is for penalties and costs to New York State.

The judgment also requires the dissolution of 11 incorporated entities Mr. Weingarten used to implement his fraudulent fundraising scheme. These entities include four “religious corporations” that on paper purported to be synagogues but in reality were mere shells that helped hide much of his activity behind a cloak of religious freedom. Weingarten also made up names of eight other entities, which were never incorporated, and used those names in his scheme. The 19 Brooklyn entities are permanently barred from operating under the order. They are: Hatzalah Rescue of Israel, Inc.; Shearim, Inc.; Bnei Torah, Inc.; Chesed L’Yisrael V’Chasdei Yosef, Inc.; Yad L’Shabbat, Inc.; Hatzalah Shomron, Inc.; Pulse Foundation, Inc.; Agudath Chesed Bikur Cholim Israel, Inc.; Kupat Reb Meir Baal Haness Bnei Torah Eretz Yisrael, Inc.; Congregation Yad L’Shabbat, Inc.; Shearim Hayad L’Torah Center for Hatzalah L’Shabbat and Chesed L’Yisrael, Inc.; Israel Emergency Center; Magen Israel; Hayad Victim Assistance Fund; Lmaan Hatorah; Our Children; Zaka Israel; Yaldel Simcha Yisrael; and Yad Yisrael.


Brooklyn Man Charged With Stealing Over $42,000 From 87-Year-Old Woman

Prosecutors today announced that a Brooklyn man has been charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of a forged instrument in the theft of $42,500 from an 87-year-old retired social worker he befriended and drove on errands.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant allegedly ran a scam and preyed on a vulnerable woman who trusted him. We will not tolerate such shameful acts of elder fraud anywhere in Brooklyn.”

Ariel Lemos Hernandez, 41, of 625 Ocean Avenue, in Flatbush, is presently awaiting arraignment in Brooklyn Criminal Court on a criminal complaint charging him with one count of third-degree grand larceny and 17 counts of second-degree possession of a forged instrument. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

According to the criminal complaint, the victim, Margaret O’Donnell, met Hernandez in 2012 when Hernandez was employed as a car service driver. O’Donnell became friendly with Hernandez and frequently wrote him checks for car service trips and for what she believed were emergency car repairs, totaling $59,000, between May 2012 and March 2014.

But beginning in November 2013 through April 2014, Hernandez is accused of stealing $42,500 from O’Donnell by writing 17 checks against her account payable to himself for $2,500 each.

A review of Hernandez’s bank accounts shows the checks going into his account and about $42,000 cash being removed from the account via ATM withdrawals. About $400 was a debit charge at a restaurant.

The case was investigated by Detective Investigator Anthony Schembri of the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, under the supervision of Chief John Bilich.

10 Year Old Girl Drowned While Swimming In Coney Island

A 10-year-old Staten Island girl has drowned while swimming in the waters off Coney Island.

Police say Takara McDuffy and her 9-year-old girl were pulled from the water by good Samaritans after struggling in the water near Stillwell Avenue on Coney Island Beach at about 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Police say McDuffy was taken to Coney Island Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Her sister was not injured. (more…)

Mysterious White Flags Appear Atop Brooklyn Bridge

bkbridgewhiteflagSomeone has replaced two American flags on the Brooklyn Bridge with mysterious white flags.

The white flags – international symbols of surrender – fluttered Tuesday from poles on the stone supports that hold cables above the bridge connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan.

One of the flags, viewed via video, appeared to have faint traces of stars and stripes on it.

Police say it isn’t clear what time they were placed there – or by whom.

Several officers scaled the bridge and were seen lowering the flag on the Manhattan side around 11 a.m. as traffic inched along the bridge.

The bridge is one of the most heavily secured landmarks in the city, constantly monitored by surveillance cameras.

The city’s Department of Transportation is referring all queries to the New York Police Department. (more…)

reBar Owner Sentenced 3-10 Years For Stealing $200K In Sales Tax, Evading $1.2 Million

Kings County District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson today announced that the owner of reBar, a now-shuttered restaurant located in DUMBO, has been sentenced to 3 1/3 to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty last month to grand larceny and criminal tax fraud in connection with stealing approximately $200,000 in sales tax that he collected between 2009 and 2012, but failed to remit to the state. He also admitted failing to collect approximately $1.2 million in sales tax during the same period.

District Attorney Thompson said, “Today’s sentence sends a clear message that we will prosecute tax cheats and put them in prison for stealing money from the people of New York – money that we could use to hire more police officers and improve our schools and roadways.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Jason Stevens, 41, of 68 Jay Street, in Brooklyn. Both Stevens and his corporation, Fulton Ferry Market, Inc., pleaded guilty last month to one count of second-degree grand larceny and four counts of criminal tax fraud before Acting Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew A. Sciarrino, Jr., who today sentenced the defendant to 3 1/3 to 10 years in prison.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between 2009 and 2012, the defendants – Stevens and Fulton Ferry Market – operated reBar, a restaurant located at 147 Front Street, in DUMBO, Brooklyn, and collected approximately $200,000 in sales tax from customers that they failed to remit to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. They also evaded $1.2 million in sales tax by failing to collect it for goods and services rendered.

Welcome the 78th Precinct’s New Boss

After two and a half years as serving as the Commanding Officer of the 78th Precinct, Deputy Inspector Michael Ameri has been given a new assignment as the Commanding Officer of the Highway District. Replacing Deputy Inspector Ameri will be Captain Frank DiGiacomo.

Captain DiGiacomo was appointed to the New York City Police Department in August 1993, and began his career on patrol in the 9th Precinct. He was promoted to Sergeant in June 2000; Lieutenant in May 2005; and Captain in July 2010. Captain DiGiacomo has served in the 9th, 105th, 6th, 75th, and 10th Precincts; as well as Patrol Borough Queens South, Housing Bureau Brooklyn, and Patrol Borough Manhattan South.

Captain DiGiacomo holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Aspen University.